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Original Issue

Warner Stands Behind Bulger

Rams coach Mike Martz thought hard about pulling Marc Bulger
during Sunday's game against the Bears, going so far as to ask
Kurt Warner if he was ready to play. "I don't think anyone can
appreciate the impact Kurt has when he's helping Marc from the
sideline," Martz said after Bulger had led St. Louis to a 23-21
comeback win. "Kurt has been great and completely unselfish. Kurt
said he was ready to play, but he said we should stick with
Marc." ...The biggest percentage increase in penalties from 2002
to this season is in offensive pass interference: 53 accepted
calls through 10 weeks this year compared to 29 with the same
point last season. "We've been working with officials to give the
defensive player an equal chance to get a ball that's up for
grabs," says Mike Pereira, the league's director of
officiating.... In the eyes of NFL scouts, Ben Roethlisberger of
Miami (Ohio)--a junior likely to declare for the 2004
draft--might be a hotter quarterback prospect than Mississippi
senior Eli Manning. Roethlisberger, a 6'5" fireballer, impressed
scouts when he completed 18 of 29 attempts in 30-mph wind during
the RedHawks' 45-6 rout of Marshall on Nov. 12. For the year his
completion percentage is 68.1.... Two days before the Bucs' game
with the Packers, coach Jon Gruden brought in fiery Tampa Bay
Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella to rouse the troops. But the Bucs
played more like the Devil Rays, allowing the Pack to drive 98
yards for the winning score in a 20-13 victory.